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      Historic Houses

      House Keeping

      It takes a significant amount of time, energy and resources to keep PEM’s Historic House collection in tiptop shape.

      Luckily, the museum has a talented team of preservationists and craftspeople dedicated to the cause. Below are a selection of projects that are underway on PEM’s campus:

      Ropes Mansion (318 Essex Street)
      During May and June 2024, you may pass by PEM’s Ropes Mansion and notice several shutters are missing. Eight black-painted shutters, dating from 1830 to 1900, are out for repair. Shutters that can be restored will be repaired with epoxy, sanded and freshly painted. If any of the shutters are determined to be beyond repair, PEM staff and our trusted partners will build exact replicas using air-dried Eastern White Pine heartwood.

      Cotting-Smith Assembly House (138 Federal Street)
      Beginning in early May 2024, PEM’s Cotting-Smith Assembly House will get a refresh. Expect to see a fresh coat of paint on the exterior, and notice the walkway and driveway improvements. The walkway is being relaid at a level, smooth grade to meet ADA standards, while the driveway is being compacted and relaid with fresh stone. After that work is complete, PEM is looking to design and replace a missing balustrade that was once installed above the house’s portico but was removed in the early 20th century. How do we know about it? This detail was almost lost to history, but appears in two historic photographs in PEM’s collection.

      Peirce-Nichols House (80 Federal Street)
      Recently, the fence at PEM’s Peirce-Nichols House underwent repairs following damage from nearby trees. Expect further repairs and enhancements to the fenceline in the summer and fall of 2024. Future projects at the Peirce-Nichols House will include stabilization of the balustrade as well as roofing and copper work restoration.

      Crowninshield-Bentley House (126 Essex Street)
      Beginning in May 2024, if you look along the roof’s edge at the Crowninshield-Bentley House, you’ll see custom molding for the cornice being installed. Inside the house, PEM staff and our capable partners are updating the mechanical systems and installing a new HVAC and furnace system.

      Gardner-Pingree House (128 Essex Street)
      Inside the Gardner-Pingree House, work will soon be underway to repaint two rooms on the second and third floors and re-grain and varnish several exterior doors. With an eye to increasing accessibility in 2024, PEM also expects to conduct an ADA study of the house.

      ABOVE IMAGE: Crowninshield-Bentley House, West Parlor. Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.